Hi friends! I am still living on cloud 9 thinking about Lucy and my special ‘just us’ weekend in NYC together! 🥰 We were there for just over 48 hours had THE best time bopping around and spending individual time together. Here’s a day-by-day breakdown of what we did in NYC, some helpful travel logistics (re: carseat, stroller, etc!) and a list of things to do in NYC with preschoolers. Thanks for reading!
We arrived to my friend’s house (where we were staying for the weekend) in the Upper West Side around 10:30am. We got situated, freshened up, gave his dog a giant hug, and went off to adventure! We didn’t have a plan, but knew we needed to eat and ended up walking to The Smith. I had been to other locations in the city and remember it being good! One thing I noticed (and appreciated) about The Smith and every other restaurant was how kid-friendly and accommodating they were. We don’t usually opt for ‘kid-friendly spots’ and instead just…bring out kids to places we want to go (obviously at appropriate times!). All of the restaurants we visited didn’t bat an eye at me eating out with Lucy, even though some were slightly fancy. Anyway, every place we went to eat had a specific kids menu, most of them brought out kids crayons (and sometimes more activities) for coloring, and all of them were fine with me tucking my stroller near the table or would offer to put it somewhere for me.
After brunch, we walked to Columbus Circle to visit CAMP. A ton of people recommended CAMP to me and I’m SO glad we went — I’ve never been to any place like this! It’s a hybrid shop/play experience – it stands for . The CAMP in Columbus Circle was two levels, the first being the main store with some interactive activities, like a truck you could lie down in and ‘watch the stars’, a scooter riding track, and more. The second level was the ART camp ad it was incredible! There were all sorts of activities, like slime making, a splatter room, tie-dying, painting sculptures, and more. You can buy a ticket to do multiple art activities or just one, which is what we did! Lucy chose to paint a dog sculpture and it was so sweet! They brought over her own paint set and boxed everything up when we were done. It was fully self-guided (so nice one-on-one time for us) but they also offer guided art classes. It was truly so cool and if you have kids and visit NYC, you definitely swing by one of the CAMP locations!
From there we took the subway from Columbus Circle down to the Chelsea neighborhood, walked along The High Line, and then wandered around the Hudson Yards area. We stopped in Dylan’s Candy Store and then walked to the nearby Bella Abzug Park to play and get some wiggles out. I did A LOT of walking / stroller pushing this first day! From there, we headed down to Chelsea Piers, where we took a spontaneous super sweet carousel ride on the Pier 62 Carousel. This was right next to where we needed to be next…
After that, and the reason we were down in this area, it was time for our boat trip! I was really excited to do this activity together and I’m so glad we did! At first I thought a boat ride in Manhattan would be cheesy/touristy (I’ve done many of those in SF!) but was pleasantly surprised at how lovely this was! I booked Classic Harbor Line’s Statues and Skylines Yacht Tour. We sailed to the Statue of Liberty, which I had never been to before (!) and saw lots of pretty skylines and bridges. We had our own large private table inside of the yacht and there were only five other small groups (2-4 people each) onboard but everyone sort of did their own thing in their own area, so it really did feel like Lucy and I were on this special solo adventure. Food/drinks were available for purchase (first drink free! 🥂) and the crew was great. They were informative but really let us just soak up the view (and took pictures for us!) without acting like a tour guide the entire time. The entire ride was 1.5 hours and my ticket was $60 and Lucy’s was $28 – well worth it for us! We had so much fun!
Our boat ride ended at 5:15pm and from there we walked thirty minutes to the West Village for dinner! I booked a dinner reservation at Rosemary’s, an Italian spot that I’ve been to a bunch over the years. I shared this on Instagram earlier — the last time I was at Rosemary’s I was newly pregnant with Lucy so it felt extra special to be there with her earth side, almost five years later!
I love the West Village – so many great restaurants and shops and just cuteness so would usually stick around to explore, but we were wiped out! We took the subway back to UWS and snuggled on the couch and went to bed by 8pm. Perfect day. 💛
We were up early on Saturday morning! We grabbed a coffee and went to the Adventure Playground in Central Park, which was near where we were staying. We played for awhile (had the entire playground to ourselves!) and then went back to get ready for the day.
Around 9am we took the subway downtown to Soho, which is where the Shopify afternoon event I was attending and speaking at was taking place. Lucy LOVED the subway and got really into swiping her own Metrocard, following the signs for the train we needed, counting stops, etc. It was so sweet. We stopped at Vesuvio Playground and then grabbed a coffee and croissant at Felix Roasting Co. From there, we met friends for brunch at Jack’s Wife Freda, another favorite spot to eat in NYC! It’s an American Mediterranean bistro and delicious and cute good vibes all around. We sat inside, but the outdoor area at this location reminded me of outdoor cafes in Paris. 🥐
After that, we walked over to Shopify NYC where the event took place. I was in the zone for work, and Lucy hung out with a friend of ours for a few hours. You can find more about this Mother’s Day-themed event in this blog post, but basically, I was there to moderate a panel about starting a business and juggling motherhood and entrepreneurship. I got to meet and facilitate a conversation between three badA$$ mom entrepreneurs and it was really lovely. I used to speak at ‘industry events’ in a past life (pre-kids, when working at different tech startups in my 20s) and my shop is powered by Shopify, so getting to be a part of this event felt like a nice convergence of my two businesses.
After the event, I spontaneously decided to book us tickets for the Museum of Ice Cream since it was two blocks away and they had an opening right around the time we were wrapping up. While it’s definitely ‘Instagrammable’ and getting to eat lots of ice cream is fun, I wouldn’t recommend it as it was very overpriced, super busy, unorganized/chaotic (like the flow of the museum and navigating the space, getting conflicting info from staff, etc.) and a overstimulating (not in a good way). We took the subway back to Upper West Side (also very busy and overstimulating — we had to connect in Times Square on a Saturday night – yikes! 😩🥵) and ended up at Parm for dinner. Two moms at the event recommended this as a good spot to eat with kids and it did not disappoint! It’s a casual Italian spot that felt really…accessible and easy. There were groups of friends getting dinner before a night out, parents with kids, people dining solo, people on a date, etc. We sat outside and got to enjoy the gorgeous weather and buzzy NYC energy and yummy food! After dinner, we walked back to my friend’s house and once again, were in bed by 8:30pm!
On Sunday morning, we didn’t have any set plans except to explore Central Park! We once again woke up early and took subway up to H&H Bagels and then walked to the park from there. We entered Central Park at 85th and enjoyed out (delicious) bagels on a park bench while chatting and people watching. From there, we just wandered over the park. The weather was absolutely perfect – sunny, warm, but not hot. A few places we went in the park (some pictured below) – Arthur Ross Pinetum, Summit Rock (she loved climbing rocks!), Oak Bridge, wandered The Ramble (wooded area in the park), Bow Bridge, Bethesda Terrace and Fountain (there’s a bathroom here!), the Balto Statue, Billy Johnson Playground, and the Central Park Carousel,
Billy Johnson Playground was a BIG favorite. The playground. layout was inspired by the park’s landscape and it was just really cool with slides built into the rocks, tire swings, climbing structures and more. We could have stayed for longer! This playground is also close to the Central Park Zoo (we didn’t go this time).
After we left the park, I typed in ‘nails’ into Google Maps and we spontaneously got our nails done. Oh how I missed affordable, good nail places that don’t require an appointment! Lucy LOVED getting her nails done and has showed them off to everyone she’s encountered since. 💅🏻😂. I didn’t have a plan for lunch, but knew we needed to eat before the trip home. I discovered Hummus Place which feltt like a hole-in-the-wall spot that only locals knew about and it was VERY yummy and inexpensive. On the walk back, we swung by Magnolia Bakery for a cupcake (and to bring Winnie home a cookie! 🍪) before our car came around 1pm.
And that was it!
TRAVEL & TRANSPORTATION LOGISTICS
I wanted to share details about transportation logistics for this trip to NYC. I wasn’t really sure what to do about the carseat situation. My plan was to just use the subway and walk everywhere once we were in New York and not deal with taxis/carseats.We typically bring our Cosco Finale DX 2 in 1 carseat for Lucy when traveling, but I didn’t really want to schlep our carseats through airport and our travel days *just* for the drive to/from the airport. I’ve heard great things about the Rider Safer vests for kids who are around Lucy’s age/size and up, but didn’t really want to buy ‘another thing’ since we have a great carseat option for her already for virtually every other trip we go on! I learned about the KidCar app and that’s what I used to get to and from the airport. I booked the ride in advance, and was able to enter the number of carseats and type (rear facing, front facing, booster) we needed. Drivers are vetted extensively, and trained on proper carseat installation. Both of our KidCar rides had a Diono carseat that was properly installed, making it SO easy to get in the car and go. KidCar was slightly more expensive than taking a Lyft/Uber but it was very well worth it for me knowing that we had a private ride already lined up (no guessing when we’d get matched with a driver, etc.) and that the car was ready to go with the carseat installed. KidCar isn’t in every city, but it’s worth checking out if you are going to be traveling to one of the cities they operate in! This is #notsponsored but I feel like I’m a KidCar brand advocate at this point! 👍🏽
Other than our KidCar rides to/from the airport, we walked and took the subway! I felt comfortable using public transit after many trips to NYC, and Google Maps will tell you which subway you need to get from Point A to Point B. A lot of people recommended I bring a travel stroller and I’m SO glad I did. This was a MUST for this visit. Even though Lucy is 4 and a good walker, we walked A LOT and I was so glad to have the stroller for her to ride and rest. We brought our Mountain Buggy Nano travel stroller – we’ve had it for four years and it’s been all over the world with us! We haven’t used it in awhile as we usually bring our Zoe Twin+ double stroller , but it was perfect for this trip. The Mountain Buggy stroller is really lightweight and folds small so it fit in the overhead compartment of the plane. Some subway stations are accessible with elevators, but I just folded it and used stairs every time we took subway and also when we went to restaurants. When you fold the stroller, there’s a handle as well as a strap so it’s easy to carry when not in use.
Lastly, comfy shoes for walking in NYC are another must. We (well, I) walked miles every day! 👟
THINGS TO DO IN NYC WITH PRESCHOOLERS
Adventures: Boat Tour , Hours in Central Park, Central Park Zoo
Playgrounds: Adventure Playground (Central Park), Billy Johnson Playground (Central Park – OUR FAVORITE!), Little Engine Playground (Upper West Side), Ancient Playground (Central Park), Bella Abzug Park (near Hudson Yards), Vesuvio Playground (Soho), Hudson Yards Playground,
Carousels: We went to the carousels in Central Park and at Pier 62, but I’ve heard good things about the SeaGlass Carousel at The Battery and the Bryant Park Carousel
Museums: Children’s Museum of the Arts, Children’s Museum of Manhattan (in UWS), Museum of Natural History (I’ve heard it’s amazing but didn’t think Lucy would love it),
Eat: H&H Bagels, Jack’s Wife Freda, Rosemary’s, Parm, Hummus Place
Other: Go to a CAMP store, visit Dylan’s Candy Store, FAO Schwarz (toys!), Chelsea Market
Travel with Kids: Tips, Tricks & Learnings
Mommy Poppins: 5 NYC Day Itineraries Perfect for Preschoolers
Hattie Kolp: Long Weekend in NYC – A Native’s Guide